Queen and Slim: Movie Review
Updated: Dec 2, 2020
Denton – "Queen and Slim" paralleled life in its sincerest form in many situations from the very beginning. Parallels of millennial culture, African American relationship culture, the culture of being black in America. It then addressed the stereotype of the strong black woman.
The volatility of online/app dating found Angela Johnson (Queen), played by Jodie Turner-Smith, a defense attorney on a mediocre date at a subpar diner with Ernest Hines (Slim), played by Daniel Kaluuya.
Shortly after they finish their meals, they encounter an unethical police officer, and the shooting takes place. This is the beginning of the movie. To protect their lives, Angela insists that they leave the dying police officer. Angela, a defense attorney, views living on the run as a better option than facing the American judicial system. Glaring symbolism, a black woman enters a system she does not trust to protect people who look like her.
Initially, they struggle to find direction, knowing they need to leave but feeling like they have nowhere to go. Ernest desires to seek out his family to say goodbye. Angela feels they can't afford it and gets rid of their phones.
Queen reluctantly decides that they will go to her uncle's house in New Orleans. An odd turn of events, up until that point, she had eluded to not having any family or preferring to be alone. Uncle Earl, played by Bokeem Woodbine, hid them, fed them, and gave them a few contacts. The path they took was reminiscent of the underground railroad. Their railroad consisted of friends of uncle earl's and friends of friends. However, it worked in reverse as they ran from the north to the south to escape.
They traveled to the first stop, Mr. Shepherd's home, a friend of uncle Earl's. A neighbor recognizes them and calls the police. A SWAT team arrives as they're sitting down for dinner. They hide in the crawl space under Mr. Shepherd's bed and spend the night in the crawl space listening to police ransack the home searching for them. They jumped out of a window to escape the next morning.
Mr. shepherd gave them the address to the next stop in Florida, which ended up being a random location in the middle of nowhere. The road was empty of people, with no houses around for miles. The situation seemed grim. They were startled awake by the 3rd contact, the only black person in the group, and the same person who gave them up for reward money.
The movie's previews left me looking for something reminiscent of Bonnie and Clyde, militant and action-packed. According to the writer, this film turned out to be more of a romance that attempted to "humanize" black people (Lena Waithe.) A story we didn't know we needed, in my opinion.
I liked many things about this movie—the explanation of why the home is a sanctuary for black men. I enjoyed them sharing the desires each of them had for a partner and a relationship. This scene was a polar opposite to the indifference that fills the typical millennial dating culture.
Some things troubled me about the movie as well. Junior shooting the police officer was triggering for multiple reasons. It was unnecessary; it didn't add anything. I was very troubled by the fact that Junior shot a black police officer. It didn't fit the narrative. This scene created a false depiction that black youth have an issue with all police regardless of disposition, race, or encounter, and that isn't the case.
I was disappointed in the overt depiction of all the help for black people needing to come from non-black people. The idea that the person who eventually gave them up was black was easy to place. I think that the deceptive nature he engaged in creates an atmosphere of distrust amongst black people.
If the movie had to have a rating based on a star system, 3.5 – 5 stars would be where I landed on this one. Good and even fantastic in some places but also very disappointing in others.